View Full Version : "Micro" - 2013 WI Imprint NA Goshawk

09-08-2013, 10:27 PM
Off to kind of a late start as far as beginning a thread goes, but I'll do a little "catch-up" to get up to speed...

"Micro" is a 2013 Wisconsin NA goshawk (male). Although I've had a few other imprints, this is really my first attempt at doing the whole thing. I'm not an expert with imprints, nor with goshawks or other accipiters, so bear with me, lol...

The adventure started out in late February/early March heading up to northern Wisconsin with my son (Tanner) and a friend (Shao) to look for goshawk nests. Shao Lee and Aaron Allred have done this before of course, and Aaron in particular has done his best to pique my interest enough to try an imprint gos...

I live on a 400 acre Boy Scout camp (I'm the ranger) as one of my jobs, so have plenty of room for training and a ready access to lots of noisy scouts, tractors, saws, mowers, trucks, etc... All good things to help socialize a young bird!

We spent the last part of February, all of March, and a good chunk of April wading/snowshoeing through crotch-deep snow looking for nests, and managed to come up with several active nests and a bunch of older, unused ones. We also found some broadwing and red-shouldered nests just to keep things interesting.

I've got to say, it's a special thrill to come across a goshawk nest in the winter woods, and to see (or hear) evidence of recent activity nearby... It sure makes all the driving, walking, and searching worthwhile!

Nests, a plucking post (with a ruffed grouse foot), and a porcupine...

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0559_zpsf0cf3880.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0559_zpsf0cf3880.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0462b_zps8b5c6620.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0462b_zps8b5c6620.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0485_zps3657bbb9.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0485_zps3657bbb9.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0462b1_zps14bc1626.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0462b1_zps14bc1626.jpg.html)

09-08-2013, 10:35 PM
Having checked-in on few of the active nests, and getting an idea of approximate hatch-dates, etc, we decided on who was going to pull from the various nests, and made arrangements to do so.

Aaron was excited to join us on the weekend of take, and even volunteered to climb the tree! I really wanted to do it myself, but having a bum knee and not having climbed for almost 20 years, I was only too willing to give him the honor. Next year though, may be different... Climbing up to a nest and pulling an eyass myself is definitely on my must-do list.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0525112645_zps7605a07f.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0525112645_zps7605a07f.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0525114049_zps877343b5.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0525114049_zps877343b5.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0525115529_zpsd2c2716e.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0525115529_zpsd2c2716e.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0525120822_zps06c55d52.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0525120822_zps06c55d52.jpg.html)

09-08-2013, 10:50 PM
Here's what Aaron found in the nest...

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/Nest2_zps8218a828.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/Nest2_zps8218a828.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/Nest1_zps7b44f683.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/Nest1_zps7b44f683.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/Nest3_zps272ac365.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/Nest3_zps272ac365.jpg.html)

Going into the adventure, I'd decided to try for a female.

However, not being at all sure myself on picking a female from a male, I was going to be happy with whatever the eyass turned out to be. When Aaron explained the size discrepancy between the young in the nest, it was an easy decision for me to have him lower the small one. I suspect he wasn't getting his fair share of food, and I doubt he'd have survived.

09-08-2013, 11:07 PM
Once back to the vehicle I placed him in the "nest" basket, and placed a dish of food in front of him. I twig-fed him a tidbit or two, but he took over from there...

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0525160654_zpsd58babae.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0525160654_zpsd58babae.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0526100041_zpsb9c8b39e.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0526100041_zpsb9c8b39e.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0525153726_zpsb2f351a2.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0525153726_zpsb2f351a2.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0526153325_zps5cc5164b.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0526153325_zps5cc5164b.jpg.html)

He needed some assistance staying warm for the first few days. I placed a warming light over one side of his nest (so he could move under it, or away from it as desired) and placed a hand towel in the nest too. He initially liked to snuggle up under it.

Our estimate was that he was around 5.5 days of age at take (Memorial Day weekend).

In the last photo you can see the dark maggot in his right ear. He had a bunch of them. I'd wait until he was asleep and gently pluck them out with a pointed tweezers if I could, or drip a drop of vegetable oil on it if it was in too deep for me to reach. They'd squirm out for air and I could grab them. We got about a dozen or 14 of them out. Some were moving between his nares and his ears, one came out of the top of his head, one out of the side of his rump, some out of folds in front of his "ankles", and a few from under his lower mandible.

09-09-2013, 12:07 AM
Hi Phil

Iv been flying wild taken goshawks for around 40 years now.
After I have my new eyeas comfortable I put a drop of vegetable oil in each ear
and id say that a good number had the maggots, I never had 1 with 14 though.
Well congratulations.

09-09-2013, 10:10 AM
Cool pictures! This is exciting! And good on you for taking the little guy, you may have saved a life :)
Thanks for sharing!

Bryant Tarr
09-09-2013, 01:23 PM
Hey Phil! Glad you started this thread. Great to see you at the Wisconsin Falconer's picnic too....I look forward to your updates and hope we can get together and fly sometime this season!

09-09-2013, 04:25 PM
Deja vu all over again :) makes me smile big

09-09-2013, 06:29 PM
Hi Phil

Iv been flying wild taken goshawks for around 40 years now.
After I have my new eyeas comfortable I put a drop of vegetable oil in each ear
and id say that a good number had the maggots, I never had 1 with 14 though.
Well congratulations.

Thanks Vinnie!

I was pretty shocked to find that many myself. I'd expected to have one or two, but certainly not as many as I ended up removing.

My wife actually thought I was pulling her leg when I told her what the dark spots meant... That changed pretty quickly!

09-09-2013, 06:32 PM
Cool pictures! This is exciting! And good on you for taking the little guy, you may have saved a life :)
Thanks for sharing!

Glad you're enjoying them Ally! Most of the pictures are by my wife or son. I never seem to have time to bother with the camera, so it's really nice that they like to follow me around and snap photos.

I must say I'm pretty jealous of your location. I went to school in Missoula, and really just swung back to Wisconsin to get married and drag my wife back to Montana. She's been dragging her feet a bit though (19 years and counting...). I'll get back out there eventually!

09-09-2013, 06:33 PM
Hey Phil! Glad you started this thread. Great to see you at the Wisconsin Falconer's picnic too....I look forward to your updates and hope we can get together and fly sometime this season!

That would be fantastic Bryant! It was nice seeing you too! Are you going to be at the winter meet?

09-09-2013, 10:32 PM
So, basically I decided to try to keep food association out of the picture. More or less like Mcdermott's book recommends, but I'm not one to follow things too stringently. I prefer to get started in a general direction, but then tweak things as I deem appropriate/necessary/desirable. In this case, I figure it will be easier to keep food out of the picture and add it in if/when I want to than it would be to try the opposite approach. It's my first try with a brand new eyass though, so I guess I'll have to wait and see how successful that approach is...

More or less I fill the food dish every time the lil' guy falls asleep. Right after he falls asleep I clean the dish well, and generally refill it right away. My obvious goal is to never let him see me feed him, and never let him run out of food.

I work two full time jobs (in the spring, summer and fall anyway), so am fortunate enough to have a wife and two high school aged children willing to help out. When I'm not around they fill in with feeding/supervising, or whatever.

That pattern goes on for the next few weeks. I put the lure in the nest for a few days, and the lure, and a toy or two, but never got to crazy about that. A few days in the nest, a few days out...

At this point I still didn't know male or female. I also wasn't really weighing him much, and wasn't weighing food at all. Just running an all-you-can-eat diet.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0531212925_zps0e340848.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0531212925_zps0e340848.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0531214455_zpsee113190.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0531214455_zpsee113190.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0605190031_zps4585725b.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0605190031_zps4585725b.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0609172245_zps276930ec.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0609172245_zps276930ec.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0607084539_zps68afbf84.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0607084539_zps68afbf84.jpg.html)

Bryant Tarr
09-09-2013, 10:41 PM
That would be fantastic Bryant! It was nice seeing you too! Are you going to be at the winter meet?

Planning to be there, yes...should be interesting in a new location.

09-09-2013, 10:42 PM
He's getting bigger...

I'm also getting exposed to all sorts of things. My day job is in a factory / office setting, so he gets to have the tv on all day. My wife and kids are in and out all day long though, so he sees them a lot as well as the two dogs. I get home in the early evening, and the rest of the day is spent working around the camp.

He gets to ride in 5 or 6 different vehicles, and on the mower/tractor. He gets to go out with me when I run the chain saw and clear trees and brush.

The camp staff arrived too, so he's got 75 staff members wanting to see him, touch him, and play with him. They're in training too, so he gets to be there when they do their cheers and songs, and stomp their feet on the wooden dining hall floor.

My son is in baseball, so he comes with to the games too.

He's starting to stand up too.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0611131616a_zps74495930.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0611131616a_zps74495930.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0610202403_zpsf39d330a.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0610202403_zpsf39d330a.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0610202519_zps907e383d.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0610202519_zps907e383d.jpg.html)

09-09-2013, 10:48 PM
Three weeks after take he's standing up and tearing at his food. I've been cutting his quail open, mincing the meat, and using the layed-out skin and feathers as a kind of "plate" at times hoping he'll recognize a quail later on while it's still in the wrapper.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0614171948_zps2d6f511e.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0614171948_zps2d6f511e.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/th_0614172230_zps4f2c0215.jpg (http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0614172230_zps4f2c0215.mp4)

^^^ That one's a short video, if it works...

09-09-2013, 10:53 PM
Still taking him to the games!

This is only three days later and look at the feather growth! Roughly 28-30 days old here.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0617192413_zps4e4715c3.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0617192413_zps4e4715c3.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0617195955_zpsdf44317e.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0617195955_zpsdf44317e.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0617184202_zpscb685b27.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0617184202_zpscb685b27.jpg.html)

Lots of cell phone pics, sorry.

09-09-2013, 10:56 PM
Five days later, it's time for a trip to Madison for a cooler full of quail and some live ones for baggies. He gets to sit up where he can see the road, and gets to take toys in case he gets bored.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0622155730_zps9e40e2c8.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0622155730_zps9e40e2c8.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0622132913_zps974fb7d4.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0622132913_zps974fb7d4.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0622155745_zpsd0933e56.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0622155745_zpsd0933e56.jpg.html)

Life as a young gos looks awful stressful!

09-09-2013, 11:05 PM
One month after take, watching tv on my lap.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0624224210_zps1e9b3b99.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0624224210_zps1e9b3b99.jpg.html)

A few days later, and starting to get around the house with his new wings. Still just short hops of course...

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0628062530_zps91a7a851.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0628062530_zps91a7a851.jpg.html)

This is when I started getting him used to being tethered too. I moved him to a bow perch on the floor, and kept his nest basket nearby. He likes to lay on the floor to sleep though, or on a folded towel. The nest is loosing its importance.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0628171711_zps1e100923.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0628171711_zps1e100923.jpg.html)

An early attempt at sleeping like a big boy!

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0628092441_zpsd5bf7336.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0628092441_zpsd5bf7336.jpg.html)

09-09-2013, 11:16 PM
Far fewer cell phone pics from here forward...

He's soooo tired... But when you need to preen, you need to preen...

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/tripandseniorpics062_zps8d8f6bf6.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/tripandseniorpics062_zps8d8f6bf6.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/tripandseniorpics061_zps50f1924d.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/tripandseniorpics061_zps50f1924d.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/tripandseniorpics063_zpsa6401ce0.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/tripandseniorpics063_zpsa6401ce0.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/tripandseniorpics064_zps739e5dc5.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/tripandseniorpics064_zps739e5dc5.jpg.html)

09-10-2013, 12:17 AM
Glad you're enjoying them Ally! Most of the pictures are by my wife or son. I never seem to have time to bother with the camera, so it's really nice that they like to follow me around and snap photos.

I must say I'm pretty jealous of your location. I went to school in Missoula, and really just swung back to Wisconsin to get married and drag my wife back to Montana. She's been dragging her feet a bit though (19 years and counting...). I'll get back out there eventually!

I think you might be disappointed by what you find coming back, Phil. It's not a great place for falconry any more. BUT we still manage, and it's still beautiful country!
If you do make it back, definitely drop me a line! And I'll keep following this :)

09-10-2013, 09:01 PM
I think you might be disappointed by what you find coming back, Phil. It's not a great place for falconry any more. BUT we still manage, and it's still beautiful country!
If you do make it back, definitely drop me a line! And I'll keep following this :)

I don't think it would have been all that great for falconry back in the early 90's when I was there either. At least not the areas I frequented.

There were some good pheasant spots around ("Lee Metcalf Area" was one I think?) and we did well shotgunning for grouse just walking the ridges. 9 Mile also rings a bell? And there was a Rock River (or Creek?) that I LOVED for fly fishing. Lots of mulies and elk around too...

I just passed through there in July of 2009 driving back home from Seattle. It was similar to what I remember, but more populated by far. The Burger King I worked at was still there, just across the river from the school. I used to hike up the hill and fly my radio-controlled sailplanes (Mt Jumbo I think?). I don't know that I'd target Missoula anymore, but somewhere in Mt would beat anywhere in the Midwest...

09-10-2013, 09:41 PM
As he started to get more active and take bigger hops around the living room, I decided it was getting close to tame hack time. I started switching him over to two meals/day (still all he could eat), and got him interested in the lure.

His weight maxed out at around 840g with anklets only.

Another evening at the ballgame.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/tripandseniorpics042_zps3c241441.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/tripandseniorpics042_zps3c241441.jpg.html)

Lots of birds and planes to watch...

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/tripandseniorpics040_zpsf1fc2721.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/tripandseniorpics040_zpsf1fc2721.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/tripandseniorpics039_zps199118f4.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/tripandseniorpics039_zps199118f4.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0628175502_zps934bdfb5.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0628175502_zps934bdfb5.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/tripandseniorpics042_zps3c241441.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/tripandseniorpics042_zps3c241441.jpg.html)

09-10-2013, 10:03 PM
Frustrating... Not sure why these keep posting on their sides...

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/tripandseniorpics057_zpsd2ad840b.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/tripandseniorpics057_zpsd2ad840b.jpg.html)

09-10-2013, 10:09 PM
Tame hack started, and I let it go on for three and a half weeks. I'd sneak in and place a quail near his perch in the early morning (still dark) so he'd have it there when he woke up. A little after he'd finished breakfast he was put out on the patio for the day.

Once I got home from work in the evening I'd find him, hang out and play with him, and eventually call him in to his lure.

Sometimes it was the lure (initially had a tidbit on it but that stopped quickly), sometimes it was a thawed quail on the line, and sometimes it was a tethered quail or young cockerel. While he was eating I'd leash him up, and then pick him up when he was done eating to head back into the house for the night.

He initially stayed on the patio or very nearby. Lots of time was spent on the backs of chairs or on the railings. He loves water so if any was spilled he'd be in it playing around, and took 4-5 baths a day at times.

He eventually began to chase birds around the yard, and the last week or so he was flying very strong, chasing hard, and expanding his range out 400-500 yards from the house. If I went looking for him though he'd see me and swing over, or follow me back to the yard to eventually be lured down for the night.

09-10-2013, 10:19 PM
Tame hack...

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0630145341_zps3784183a.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0630145341_zps3784183a.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/tripandseniorpics060_zps08a72e29.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/tripandseniorpics060_zps08a72e29.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0703183459_zps573654aa.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0703183459_zps573654aa.jpg.html)

09-10-2013, 10:21 PM
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/0703195849_zps77557359.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/0703195849_zps77557359.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0002_zpsafae4fd0.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0002_zpsafae4fd0.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0090_zpsc5aba9c9.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0090_zpsc5aba9c9.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0093_zps2930cb1e.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0093_zps2930cb1e.jpg.html)

09-10-2013, 10:30 PM
More tame hack

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0045_zps8d0bc93d.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0045_zps8d0bc93d.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0059_zpse24783a2.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0059_zpse24783a2.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0062_zpsbc48b474.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0062_zpsbc48b474.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0079_zps56502b4c.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0079_zps56502b4c.jpg.html)

09-11-2013, 05:03 PM
Phil, I am really enjoying this thread. I doubt I will ever imprint another accipiter if I couldn't tame hack it. That's how strongly I feel about it even from my small sample of three (2 hacked).

09-12-2013, 10:55 PM
Glad you guys are enjoying it!

Tame hack went very well. I never saw him catch anything, but I really suspect he may have. He was really chasing hard and was a strong flyer at the end.

He was getting to be fairly independent though, and was staying further from the house which was beginning to make me nervous. I live on a scout camp, but there are neighbors with cats and dogs. Also, directly behind my house is the rifle range (.22's), behind that is the archery range, and behind that is the shotgun range. All of those ranges were active during the afternoons and evenings... The range officers are of course camp staff, and were on the look-out for my bird, but still... He avoided the ranges for the most part, and the staff has radios so could contact me or my wife to come fetch him up.

Anyway, I decided to alter my hack timing to limit it to afternoons only (so I could be home letting him out on hack over the supper break, etc, and I hacked him on the days/afternoons/evenings the ranges were closed, and all weekend. That worked out fine, but when he began heading WAY back in the woods I decided to end it on Sunday and call it good...

Up to that point everything was going very well. Too easy almost!

That was until I called him in to the lure on Saturday night. He came in immediately like normal, but when he grabbed the lure he immediately began chittering and looking around like he was going to bolt. I would normally toss a quail down to the side for him to transfer to, but before I could do that he took off. He flew off into the woods outside my yard, but I could still see him.

I swung the lure and whistled, but he ignored me and looked pretty stressed. After a few minutes he moved off a bit where I couldn't see him, so i moved into the back yard to get closer, and swung the lure again. This time, he came right away, but immediately began chittering again when he hit the lure, and looked extremely stressed.

I decided the situation was going downhill too quickly to try the transfer, so just reached in gently and grabbed his jesses. That's when i noticed his left rear talon was gone. The quick was still there but it was raw and bloody. To make matters worse, he decided to take off again but since I had his jesses it turned into a major bate-fest with full-blown panic and chittering. Not cool...

I got him into the house and tethered to his perch, after placing his quail nearby. He eventually ate some anyway, but spent the rest of the evening favoring his foot, mostly keeping it tucked. I called Aaron to see what he thought, and skimmed around here on the forum to see what i could find. Aaron knew of a local falconer/vet who's dealt successfully with this injury by simply painting a few layers of clear nail polish over the quick, so I tried that.

I was able to take my time and dab it on while he sat on my wife's leg. He acted at first like it stung when I applied it, but once I had a coat on and dry it didn't seem too bad. For the next few days I continued to build up the thickness of the polish. A month later now, the talon sheath is coming back and it looks like it'll be fine in the long run.

That episode set me back significantly though. It sure seemed like he was blaming me for the injury (even though I know he must have done it somehow on his own; it wasn't due to the lure and he was fine when i put him out in the morning).

Within about a week, he seemed to be getting back to normal, so I decided to move forward and work on hooding. He needed some down time to heal up, and since there wasn't a whole lot to do other than keep him fed for a few more weeks, it seemed like a good idea. Nope. Bad idea.

09-13-2013, 11:17 AM
Yikes, sorry to hear! Always scary, and goshawks sure do seem to hold grudges. Blackjack is still sore at me for tethering him for the first time since I put him up for the moult, and it's been almost a week. He's still pretty fat and I expect that to go away once his weight comes down a bit but still! It's amazing how long their memories seem to be.
Good luck!

09-14-2013, 07:56 AM
It's amazing how long their memories seem to be.
Good luck!

That's why I like sharpies so much! They seem to mold-able and easy to forgive and forget. Anyway mine does.

09-19-2013, 08:19 PM
I began to work on hooding, but within a few days he was freaking out every time I picked him up so I backed off with it. I also had to travel to Ohio for work for the better part of a week, and since my wife and son were going to be helping out with him while I was gone, I didn't want to make things any more complicated than they needed to be.

I basically had them hide a quail with a string on it in the yard, and then walk around with him on the fist for a little bit before "finding" the quail and letting him drop down to eat it. That went fine.

On my end though, once I got back he'd scream/cry at me when ever I had him on the fist. He was obviously scared of me, and would "twitch" when ever I moved my right hand. Very troubling.

I decided to shift gears again and see if I could get him hunting a bit. I started out walking him around looking for sparrows in the grass, but he wasn't very interested in them. He's interested in larger birds, but doesn't seem to pay much attention at all to the little ones.

Before going out I would put a quail in the launcher, and eventually mosey my way over to it to give him a chase and catch to wrap things up. The launcher is for ducks/pheasants, so tosses the quail up about 30ft and he takes off after it.

The problem now though was he was still very fearful and un-trusting of me, so I put a long piece of heavy fishing line on the quail's legs to trail out behind it. That way once he grabbed it I could step on the line, and walk my way up to him. I was worried he'd try to carry the quail off, and this allowed me to stop that.

He didn't try to carry, but he'd mantle very hard, and always face away from me. I'd let him eat his fill, and when he lost interest I'd try to pick him up. He absolutely would not allow me to get in front of him though, and he'd keep turning away. When I'd scoop him up he'd bate and scream and bate and scream all the way back home (worse after he'd eaten than before).


09-19-2013, 08:46 PM
I figured if I'd get him catching stuff everything would work out though, so I kept heading out, always having the quail to fall back on if I couldn't get at least one chase in.

He'd start out pretty good, but if we didn't get any flushes fairly soon he'd stare at me and begin crying fearfully at me. Yuck.

If he did get a flight, I could easily call him back to the empty lure. He'd scream and mantle over it, but would allow me to trade him for a quail (or portion of one). Once he'd finish eating though he'd be fearful and not allow me to pick him up though, so I'd tether his portion to a stake, and leash him up while he was eating. He would never allow me to pick him up without protest.

There had been a young rabbit hanging around under one of the boat trailers in my maintenance yard and until he'd hurt his talon I'd been tempted to let him go after it. With the delay though, the rabbit was now large. Far larger than anything he'd really chased, and definitely bigger than anything he'd caught. I decided one day to try for it anyway, and took him for a walk back there.

When we got to the trailer, a rabbit ran out right away, and went about 5 feet before getting grabbed by the bird. It was his first wild kill, but it wasn't the rabbit I'd meant to go after; instead it was a very young one. Still, he was doing what he was supposed to. I let him break in and clipped him up, and fed him up with some quail too. An ugly pick-up of course, but a successful hunt.

I continued this process for another week or so, and he made another kill, but things still got worse. Since I was getting him back without issue to the lure, I didn't really want to lower his weight, and was flying him around 750g. It was also hot, and leafy, and a long way from hunting season... Wisconsin allows year-round rabbit and squirrel though, so I kept going out.

Within another week or two he was so fearful on my fist that I actually got scared to fly him. He'd scream and bate and hardly pay any attention to our surroundings. I needed to try something different. He'd been silent all along except for when he was scared, but by now he was into full-blown food begging too. Yuck.

Until this point I'd done everything I could to keep him directed away from me for food, figuring it would always be fairly easy to change that if/when I desired. I decided to give him some (slight) food-glove association and see if I could improve things.

He was definitely scared of the being picked up on the glove and would face away from me on his perch and look to bate. I worked to get him to take a few tidbits from my glove. Once he'd done that three or four times in the first session though he switched to hard mantling on the glove, so I quickly stopped that. Instead I tossed a tidbit to the ground, and he'd hop down to it. Once on the ground he wasn't so scared of the glove, but still didn't want to be picked up on it. It took a few more tidbits and being "sneaky" scooping him up when he'd try to steal the tidbit from the glove.

I was also allowing his weight to come down slowly. I'd wanted to avoid that and hopefully avoid the screaming, but since he was screaming anyway...

By the third day, he was doing jump-downs like a champ, and was completely ignoring the fact that he was on the glove. Indoors, he was fine. Outdoors, not so much.

I made myself a 12' para-cord leash and began doing jump downs with him outside. Within a few sessions he was doing fine outside too.

I began to take him out walking again, mixing in a few jump-downs here and there to keep him interested. I actually flip them out in front of us a ways. He flashes out there to get them, and then returns to the fist for more walking. If he gets a flight, and misses, landing in a tree, I've been rewarding him with a lure call, and two or three tidbits tossed to the side to transfer him off of the lure. Back on the fist I sometimes give him another jump down to reinforce returning to the fist.

So far, so good!

He's still food beg screaming, but no more fear, and has been flying around 710-715g (no hood).

09-19-2013, 08:54 PM
I prefer to use a backpack on my birds too, but with the issues he was having with fear (and maybe some of that was dispersal-related?) I didn't want to risk upsetting him by installing it.

He's also kind of a spaz, so I figured I'd need to hood him to install it anyway.

This past weekend I decided to hood him and install the backpack. I took him into the darkened bathroom and got the hood on eventually. Backpacking went fine, and afterwards I removed the hood and did jump downs with him without issue.

Today we're on day six of hooding. I'm picking him up out of his weathering area, hooding him in a semi-darkened room, weighing and heading out for a walk with him. He dodges the hood going on, acts like the weight of the world is on his head with it on, but is fine when i take it off.

He's riding the fist like he should, chasing like he should, coming back for the lure, and getting occasional jump downs if I get worried he's getting bored. We end the session with jump downs and head home. The jump downs are actually kind of fun. If I flip the tidbit out and up, he'll launch from the fist and catch it in mid-air! Trying to get photos of him doing it, but the light hasn't been very good.

I haven't pushed hooding in the field yet, instead waiting to put it on when we get back to the house. He's been hooded for the last few nights, and I remove it around 6am when I put him out to weather before work.

He's had a few nice rabbit flights the last two nights, and a few assorted LBJ chases, but no catches. The rabbit flights have been short. He chases hard but the cover is very close and thick.

09-19-2013, 09:13 PM
Various shots of hunting and jump-downs in the field.

It's amazing to me how fast and "snappy" he is. We're back to having fun now!

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0176_zps057ed027.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0176_zps057ed027.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0173_zpseb8a4bc2.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0173_zpseb8a4bc2.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0188_zps3661561d.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0188_zps3661561d.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0192_zps183fb36b.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0192_zps183fb36b.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0196_zps363264a7.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0196_zps363264a7.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0198_zps461ddecf.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0198_zps461ddecf.jpg.html)

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m309/Mtnman_03/DSC_0199_zps464d30a8.jpg (http://s107.photobucket.com/user/Mtnman_03/media/DSC_0199_zps464d30a8.jpg.html)

09-20-2013, 11:08 AM
Phil he's beautiful, very pale, thanks for sharing!

I feel your pain on what you were going through...it's that time of year. They wig out...crazyy

This is the hardest part and it seems like you've worked through it! Keep moving forward and all will be well. Thank you for sharing both your positives and your negatives, and by posting what you're doing in detail. :)